South Africa’s Kaleigh Telfer will share in a historic week for women’s amateur golf when she joins the most promising future stars of the game in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
The championship – established by Augusta National Golf Club – features a world-class field of 72 players, who were invited based on their positions in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Rankings or performances at various recognised tournaments.
The GolfRSA Elite Squad player will join the field for the first two rounds of the 54-hole championship at the Champions Retreat Golf Club at Augusta on 3 and 4 April.
Only the top 30 will advance to the final round at the legendary host venue of the Masters, but all the participants will be able to experience the hallowed turf of Augusta National Golf Club during a practice round on Friday.
Former SA No 1 Telfer is a second-year student (sophomore) at Auburn University.
The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member capped off the fall season with her first career collegiate victory at the Battle at the Beach in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.
Her five-under total helped the Auburn Tigers cruise to a 17-stroke victory, the program’s first team win since 2014, and that was preceded by an individual third-place showing at the Alexa Stirling Intercollegiate.
During the South African winter last year, Telfer was a finalist in the prestigious South African Women’s Amateur Match Play Championship. She has also represented South Africa in the 2016 and 2018 World Amateur Team Championships, two Toyota Junior Golf World Cups and the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
Telfer will start the first round alongside Sophie Hausmann from Germany, a three-time first-team All-Big Sky honouree, and Canadian Brigitte Thibault, whose best finish this season was second in the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown.
A total of 25 countries will be represented at the championship, with the United States leading the way with 31 participants. Sweden will field six players, Italy four and England and Thailand three each.
In addition to invitations to the next five championships, providing she keeps her amateur status, the winner will also be exempt for one year to compete in the 2019 US Women’s Open and Women’s British Open, as well as any USGA, R&A and PGA of America Amateur Championships for which she is eligible.
Four legends of the women’s game and icons for many of the participants – Hall of Famers Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez, Se Ri Pak and Lorena Ochoa – will be on site to inspire the rising stars during the championship, the first tee ceremony and other functions.